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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 7:14 am 
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Location: Ottawa
This type of story sends chills down my back.
I would forgive the wait-staff for making an error, those places are busy and I am doubtful how much knowledge the staff are given about how the food was prepared (most likely, it was prepared off site). It's Starbucks reaction to the situation that leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

I suspect the young lady who suffered the reaction does not have a drug plan. Although she's careful to read labels and ask questions, it makes no mention of her having an auto-injector on her.
Quote:
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is investigating Starbucks' labelling practices, after a young woman ate a parfait from a Coquitlam, B.C., outlet and almost died.


and
Quote:
...Fraser Health Authority, which launched an investigation. Records show environmental health officer James Wong inspected the Starbucks and asked for a copy of the incident report the shop had on file.

Wong's notes indicate the restaurant manager spoke to someone at Starbucks' Seattle head office and was told not to release company information. Under B.C. law, licensed food outlets are required to hand over any relevant documents health inspectors ask for.

"Manager … became tentative and evasive after speaking over the phone to someone at the customer service desk in Seattle," Wong wrote.

He then wrote a letter, citing the law and demanding the report, which Starbucks eventually produced. That incident report, signed by the manager and sent to Seattle, reads, "Customer came in and bought parfait and had an allergic reaction to nuts … we don't know any of the details."

http://www.cbc.ca/consumer/story/2009/01/26/bc-starbucksallergy.html

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:48 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2005 8:55 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Vancouver, BC
I am going to write to head office and let them know that this is completely unacceptable.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 12:10 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2946
Location: Toronto
It's a terrible incident.

It also speaks volumes to life as an allergic adult - she's rushing on a 15-minute break, needs to be able to depend on the label. Should she eat it in a place known for 'may contain' baked goods? Perhaps not but, well, she's hungry and she has 15 minutes ...

It drives home again the importance of labels. The early response of Starbucks is awful. They should still come out and make a statement, and definitely call her. If all you care about is liability, your image as a company will suffer with customers.

We're going to follow up on this story in the magazine. We'll ask about the auto-injector, too.

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Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 1:20 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2008 1:55 pm
Posts: 5
As a former employee of Starbucks I am ashamed at their response... but also as someone who worked there, here is my perspective:

If anyone asked if any of the products contained nuts the answer is ALWAYS "yes!" There are NO safe foods at Starbucks for anyone with a nut allergy. I am surprised that she didn't read the label (which if I remember either says "contains nuts" or says "may contain nuts".

That said - the drinks are safe (including all of the syrups) and we were very very careful to avoid having any cross-contamination issues. I get drinks from their all the time (the only thing with a may contain warning on it WAS - back in 2007 - the chocolate chips used in the double chocolate chip frappacinos).

I dunno about you guys... but as someone with a peanut allergy I avoid granola or anything prepackaged like the plague, not sure why this woman would have eaten this thing?

My take on it... either she didn't read the label, she didn't ask the employees or?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:26 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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Location: Ottawa
It seems that she had an auto-injector but didn't have it on her at the time...

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 5:09 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 22, 2006 10:26 pm
Posts: 89
Location: Toronto
I find this article very interesting and close to home....my son had consumed a muffin from Starbucks the day he had his first anaphylactic reaction. You cannot imagine the extremely difficult time the head office in Seattle gave me over several weeks when I tried to inquire about the ingredients of the muffin. I explained to them that I needed these in order to get my son tested and try to find out what he had the reaction to. I was transferred from supervisor to supervisor and told I would get a call back numerous times, but to no avail. I finally lost my patience (after waiting very patiently over several weeks for an adequate response) told them that I was not interested in their "secret recipe", did not need to know quantities of each ingredient, but was just interested in what may have caused my son's near fatal reaction to their food. I asked if they would like me to contact my local newspaper and explain how uncooperative Starbucks was in providing me with ingredients after my 3 year old almost died? (I know it was a little harsh, but I had had it and our allergist appointment was days away!) Well they finally "gave in" and over the phone listed every tiny ingredient (even the ones she couldn't pronounce) and sent my son a Starbucks stuffed teddy bear :roll: . It is so unfortunate to see that almost three years later and in light of the gains we have made on the allergy front, they haven't changed a bit.

Ang

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6 1/2 year old son - anaphylactic to tree nuts, allergic to dust and moulds
5 1/2 year old son - no allergies
15 month old son...allergies unknown


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:14 pm 
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Ang's story really makes me sad that they would not help.

I read about this ladies' story at cbc.ca http://www.cbc.ca/consumer/story/2009/0 ... lergy.html and there was a picture of the parfait. From what I recall it did not list nuts but neither did it say may contain. Looked again to find this comment by the lady: ate a Starbucks Peach Yogurt Parfait — after finding no mention of nuts in the listed ingredients

Has anyone found out whether it was a 'may contain' situation or the nuts were not listed or another allergen? It really bothers me that the Canadian law does not mandate risk of cross-contamination!

In contrast to Starbucks attitude, I called a local Smitty's (115 breakfast restaurants in Canada) but needed more details than they could provide. They referred me to Head Office who said I needed to talk with the President. Either someone is using his email or it is the company President who replied to my inquiry in 24 hours. That is customer service! Don't have the final answer yet but at least they have responded politely and quickly.

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me: allergic to crustaceans plus environmental
teenager: allergic to hazelnuts, some other foods and environmental


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:09 pm 
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Location: at my desk typing with you
I read the Starbucks is one of the companies that were to fold in 09. I think the company who makes the yogurt is liable for improper labeling and Starbucks should work with person

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allergies-Milk, penicillan, sulfa, quinilones, opiates, ragweed, grass, dust, dustmites, chrysanthemums,asthma,cats
sulphite sensitivity


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 Post subject: Food Allergy & Starbucks
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:01 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 3:02 pm
Posts: 1
It seems that it's the individuals' responsibility to ensure they don't come in contact with the allergen. I've spent years reading labels due to my daughter's peanut allergy and if there is any doubt, she doesn't have it. She's 18 now and does not take any chances. In the circumstance of Starbucks and inadequate labeling, Starbucks is responsible for causing damage and needs to acknowledge that and step up to assist this person. Both are responsible and Starbucks, being the huge corporation that it is, should step up to the bar and assist this person. Lawsuits should not be necessary if people would stop blaming and start taking responsibility.


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 Post subject: Starbucks
PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:27 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 1:51 am
Posts: 11
Location: Vancouver
Starbucks usually has a book with an ingriedient list - at least for the baked goods. I find you have to be very specific and if the staff is in doubt don't eat it. We have had several close calls on drinks. We need soy and at least twice my daughter has started to react when drinking a soy beverage. I am sure it is due to cross-contamination. They wipe the wands down between drinks, but use the same cloth that they have had in the dairy drinks. For the most part I stay away from Starbucks for my allergic kids. They are so busy and I just don't feel confident with their procedures. Saying that, I have always had a good experience if I do ask. Whether it is Starbucks or any other food supplier, eating is always a risk. We have a strict rule in our family, no epi- no food. Also, I always have my kids eat a new food item , even home made, around me before I sent them to school or out with it. You never know when the allergic ingriedient will be present.
Mom with two allergic girls
R - eggs, dairy, peanut, seseme
S - eggs


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 9:48 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2008 9:39 pm
Posts: 55
Location: Ohio
Wow! Why is everyone so quick to question the scrutiny of the woman? We know what it is like to make a mistake, even as careful as we are when eating. She made an error, whether it was reading the label wrong, or in judgment in selecting this particular snack, an error. Let's offer empathy instead of scrutiny.

Also, how insulting is it that Starbucks offered a coffee card? After suffering such an extreme reaction at their establishment they say, "Gee, that's rough. Come in and we'll buy you a coffee." Huh? It lacks sincerity. They don't "get it".

It reminds me of the time I ate in a restaurant while I was nursing and was very careful to review my restrictions and the ingredients with the server. The baby got terribly sick afterwards and was sick for days. I called the restaurant and was told the dish I ordered contained eggs, one of the allergens we had discussed and tried to avoid. The chef offered me a free meal the next time I came. As if I would go back to someplace that couldn't get it right the first time.

I personally think that a sincere and personally delivered apology from the company is the least they could do. And if they are big enough to cover medical bills associated with the immediate reaction that would be best. I'm not a huge fan of penalizing companies with pain and injury money, as no money can really pay for that. Just pay for the actual injury caused. And educate your staff on allergies.

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Daughter #1 eczema, asthma, and allergic to eggs, dairy, beef, nuts, soy, wheat, dogs, cats, and grass
Husband intolerant to dairy, allergic to grass and dust
Daughter #2 "outgrew" allergy to dairy and egg


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 2:22 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 1643
Location: Toronto
Shadow wrote:
I think the company who makes the yogurt is liable for improper labeling and Starbucks should work with person


There is no law in Canada or the US requiring that *may contain* be listed on a label.

I would like to see a law requiring that -- but it would have to be worded very carfully as I do NOT want to see companies listing it just to save themselves the trouble of actually keeping track of what is produced where.

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self: allergy to sesame seeds and peanuts
3 sons each with at least one of the following allergies: peniciilin, sulfa-based antibiotic, latex, insect bites/stings


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 7:17 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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Location: Ottawa
I think that the server who told her it was fine (and possibly all of the staff) should have a short course on food allergy awareness. Actually, I'm sure the poor server is traumatized by the whole event which probably unfolded before her eyes...

Starbucks gets a great big boo for the way it treated this situation from it's evasive attitude when approached by the Fraser Health Authority, environmental health officer, to it's almost glib attitude on how it finally did document the situation "Customer came in and bought parfait and had an allergic reaction to nuts … we don't know any of the details." it would behoove you to know the details, when a patron almost dies in yor establishment after eating a food product purchased there. If it had been a shard of glass that somehow got into the food, you can be ertain they'd be all over it. Why then nothing when it's percieved to be a peanut?

I get the impression that they just wanted the woman to go away.

I'm not sure what to think about the woman. I'm not trying to belittle Starbucks responsibility yet for someone who asked such sincere questions of the server (which makes me think she has a good appreciation for the seriousness of her condition), she did eat a product which was new to her with out her Epi-Pen on her. Yes, we've all made mistakes and this is one that I'm sure she'll never make again.

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 8:32 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 1119
I never read that she did not have her epi-pen; just that she had the reaction and had to go to hospital. Did anyone read that or is it being assumed?

My daughter does not eat a product that does not have a "May contain" warning for other allergens unless I call the company first. If it has that May Contain then we know they are reporting allergens but if it is not there we have no idea if it could contain something. Hope that makes sense... So if the parfait does not given any allergen warnings she would not touch it.

However, I now feel that we have been too risky at restaurants since we do ask them if there are allergens and have not read every label :? . We have gone to few restaurants and only when we felt they really understood the allergies.

I have utmost empathy for this woman. It is very difficult to constantly deal with these allergies.

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me: allergic to crustaceans plus environmental
teenager: allergic to hazelnuts, some other foods and environmental


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 12:28 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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Location: Ottawa
The CBC had a couple of videos on the website called Go Public. In the longer video called Kristin Gardiner talks to Kathy Tomlinson about allergic reaction (Runs 20:51) she states (around the 06:05 mark) that this one the one day she didn't have her Epi-Pen on her.

I hate to make her plight worse by harping on this fact and in the video she states that she is sextra vigilant now.

She has certainly learned that lesson the hard way.

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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